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Docurama Offers DVD Film Festival

10 Apr, 2006 By: Holly J. Wagner

It's not easy for a small film when the curtain falls, the lights go down, the party is over and the last festival guests blow out of town.

Docurama is looking to change that with the first Docurama Film Festival, an innovative campaign launching with 10 festival-darling titles streeting for the first time June 27 (prebook May 30). The launch includes a dedicated Web site, director podcasts, a festival program-style catalog and maybe even a goodie-bag for those who buy the whole batch (titles will not be boxed, but will be offered at a discount, $229.95, in a 10-disc festival bundle).

“We're looking at it as this new way of getting DVDs out there of films that you really wouldn't get the opportunity to see anywhere else,” said Ellen Capon, Docurama marketing director. “We are seeing this trend with film festivals. The reason they are so successful is that they offer films you won't see at the megaplex. We are nurturing the films on DVD in the same way that they are nurtured at the festivals.”

The films are all DVD debuts. One is an Oscar winner, three more are nominees, and the rest have a variety of festival acclaims as their pedigree. Films in the first festival collection run the gamut from historical to political documentaries. The first wave includes Aging Out, Broken Rainbow, Doing Time: Life Inside the Big House, The Fire Next Time, Full Frame 4, Legacy, Omar & Pete, The Police Tapes, Sister Rose's Passion and The Wobblies.

The label plans to offer two or three DVD festivals a year, using the consumer-facing Web site and local efforts at retail to keep interest high.

“The idea is that this Web site will be the destination where you will learn more about this film than anywhere else,” Capon said.

Netflix customers will have the option of adding the entire festival to their request queues, and Capon said Docurama is working with Amazon.com to ensure they are offered as a group.

“To our knowledge, this is new,” she said. “It's a different way of framing the releases of these films. It points to the uniqueness of these films. It separates them from the pack in a way that perhaps releasing them one by one wouldn't do.”

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